5 Steps to Organizing with Kids
Step 1 Strategize –Involve your child in the organizing process.
Guide your child to make decisions about what to keep. Focus on the present rather than the past (keeping something because it represents a memory) or the future (holding on to something because they might need it ‘someday’). When asking your child to pick up their room, clean up their mess, or put away their laundry, model what those tasks look like until they understand. Practice the KISS principle when setting up organizing systems with your child.
Step 2 Prioritize – Regularly purge their things.
Repeat after me; holding on to everything makes nothing important. Teach your child to make decisions and let go of the things that are no longer useful or have outgrown. Encourage your child to let go of (donate, recycle, resell) nine items each month in exchange for one item they want. You can set the dollar amount. In one year, they will have 96 fewer things. In ten years, they will have 960 fewer things!
Step 3 Localize – Have fun putting away their things.
Use an analog timer to teach your child how long a task takes. To make the task of putting away their things fun, give your child a small basket of their nomadic items you found during the day or week. Set the timer for 10 minutes and ask them to do a reverse scavenger hunt. Instead of finding things, the goal is to find and put away each item. Like many games, you might reward your child with a small prize. This will also teach your child everything has a place and everything belongs in its place. My mother did not learn this concept until she was 62 years old when I showed her.
Step 4 Containerize (Kids artwork)
To keep the volume under control, consider taking photos of their art. You can also take a photo of your child holding their masterpiece. Additionally, display the images in a digital picture frame – kids love watching their artwork on display. ARTKIVE is an app designed for photographing, cataloging, storing, and sharing your child’s artwork. An art case is best for storing their masterpieces in paper form. However, be mindful of whether you are keeping the art/school work for your child or yourself. There will be many masterpieces over 18 years! Not many 18-year-old kids leave home with their childhood art/school work!
Step 5 Maximize – Developing new habits.
Teach your child a new habit by attaching it to a current routine. For example, if you want your child to pack their backpack each school night, have them do it before or after brushing their teeth or taking a bath.